Countdown to Race Day: Tapering for a Half Marathon

Version 2This week, we will be talking to Atlanta Track Club Elite team members  competing in the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon this Saturday, November 5. Each will address a different aspect of their training. Today, Andrew McLain tells us about his taper for his first half marathon.With just five days left until his half-marathon debut, Atlanta Track Club Elite’s Andrew McLain is logging the lowest number of miles he has run in nearly four months. McLain and his Indianapolis-bound teammates are tapering for Saturday’s Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon after a 15-week cycle that included the longest workouts and the longest run  of his career.McLain, a seven-time NCAA Division II All-American at Lewis University, says the volume of the training and the improvement he’s seen in his fitness has been a pleasant surprise.  “I would have never thought I would get through a 23-mile run feeling good or a 10-mile tempo feeling like I could have gone farther. It's a nice feeling,” he says. “But the lack of racing and knowing exactly where I am fitness-wise has been difficult.”Tapering for a race as long as a half marathon is a new experience for the 10K specialist and winner of the 2015 PNC Atlanta 10 Miler. He describes the taper designed by Coaches Amy and Andrew Begley as a fairly steady reduction in mileage over the course of three weeks. He says the workouts are the same, but the mileage of each session is reduced.“The biggest challenge of the taper is not being able to eat as much as I was with the higher mileage days and weeks,” says McLain. He says he’ll do one last shorter-hard workout this week with a short fartlek a couple of days before Saturday’s race.McLain, who grew up in Elkhart, Indiana, says he’s excited to race in his home state. He’s aiming to run under 1:05:00, which was the qualifying time for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials. (2020 trials standards have not yet been announced.)You can follow this final week of training and get race day updates by following @ATLtcElite on Twitter. You can follow Andrew at @andmcl1About Atlanta Track Club EliteAtlanta Track Club Elite is comprised of the Club’s top athletes who train together and represent the Club at local, regional and national races. The team aims to help athletes realize their goals while promoting competitive distance running, track and field and the mission of Atlanta Track Club. For more information on Atlanta Track Club Elite, visit Atlanta Track ClubAtlanta Track Club is a nonprofit committed to creating an active and healthy Atlanta. Through running and walking, Atlanta Track Club motivates, inspires and engages the community to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. With more than 26,000 members, Atlanta Track Club is the second largest running organization in the United States. In addition to the AJC Peachtree Road Race ( – the largest 10K running event in the world, the Publix Georgia Marathon, PNC Atlanta 10 Miler and Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon, Atlanta Track Club directs more than 30 events per year. Through the support of its members and volunteers, Atlanta Track Club also maintains a number of community initiatives including organizing and promoting the Kilometer Kids youth running program to metro Atlanta youth, honoring high school cross country and track and field athletes through Atlanta Track Club’s All-Metro Banquets and supporting the Grady Bicycle EMT program. For more information on Atlanta Track Club, visit